The tree-lined highway wizzed past our window as we stared out.
“I know where we are!”
It is weird when you continue to return to the same part of the world over and over again. We were about to head into our third visit to Tulum, Mexico and it just felt right. We had so many fantastic memories from our visits two years before, we couldn’t wait to do it again.
As we stepped off the bus from Chetumal, waves of nostalgia rolled over me.
I knew this city.
We turned right out of the station and headed to the hostel we had visited twice before. I kept turning to Shaun asking, “I wonder if Eric remembers us? I wonder if he is even there!”
Two years is a long time for a city that was booming with tourism… and in those two years, it seemed to have grown right past us.
We walked into our hostel and right away I saw Eric, the hostel manager. We were met with a huge grin, “HEY! The bloggers! It has been a long time!”
Being remembered is an awesome feeling.
I looked around in awe. This tiny and comfortable hostel had grown leaps and bounds. Eric was no longer the only one in charge (his older uncle as well), they had gotten their jacuzzi up and running, rearranged a bit, and added a third floor for a soon to be bar/restaurant. But for us, there were no more free bikes and no more free snorkeling equipment. For a hostel that is easily 25-30 minutes from the beach by bike, this was going to be a problem for us as we were on a super budget. My small community had suddenly grown into a “real” hostel. All good though – I’m happy for them! Upward and onwards, right?
As we made our way around the city, we noticed a few changes:
- Bars and restaurants had closed and new ones had opened.
- I was really looking forward to heading to the Mustache Mescal Bar but it, too, had disappeared.
- Oxxos had taken over every corner.
- Touts had become more aggressive.
- Our favorite tacos al pastor place was closed almost every day we were there (which is fine because we found a better one!).
- Our secluded beach was packed to the brim. It made me a bit scared. How much longer before this beach is ruined?
- More resorts had taken over the beach.
- More boats were taking up the ocean.
- I swear there wasn’t this many backpackers last time.
Our little gem had turned into a full blown resort town and I wasn’t sure what to think of it.
So when we left, we weren’t sad this time. We were ready. Had we out-grown Tulum or had Tulum out-grown us?
In this case I can say without a doubt – the third time isn’t a charm. It was a bit disappointing.
Have you been somewhere multiple times? What did you think every time you returned?